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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

NCAA Football Playoff Preview

With all bowl games in each respective college football conference now behind us, we can look ahead to the college football (CFB) playoffs. The four best teams in the nation are now decided, and will play each other in two semifinal match-ups before the National Championship Game on January 11. The two games will happen on December 31 and pits No. 2 Alabama against No. 3 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The other game has Clemson, the number one team in the nation, against No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. So without further ado, let’s break down the match-ups.

The Cotton Bowl is a very tough one to call. On one hand, Michigan State has quarterback Connor Cook starting to get back to form and could be theoretically healthy by the time December 31 rolls around. With Alabama’s secondary, he should be able to take advantage as long as Aaron Burbridge also stays healthy. However, here is the catch: Michigan State was predominantly a run first team this season, and if there is anything that Alabama has always been particularly good at, stopping the run would be it.

Alabama is as well coached of a team as you will see in the country, and the fact that they are in the SEC automatically makes them a team based on defense. Unless MSU wants to totally change the strategy that has worked all year, I think Alabama takes this one by a decent margin.

The Orange Bowl offers a game that is very different from the Cotton Bowl. The two teams facing each other have arguably the two best QBs in CFB. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield should give everyone what they want, and that’s an offensive slugfest. Also, what should not be slept on are the running games with Clemson’s Wayne Gallman and Oklahoma’s duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Offense is pretty close, and the defense is as well.

Oklahoma brings the Big 12’s best defense to the table, while Clemson has no shortage of playmakers on that side of the ball either. Ultimately, this game comes down to the wire, but the difference is Deshaun Watson making clutch plays when he needs to, and Clemson wins a nail biter.

This makes the National Title game one of incredible intrigue. A battle between the top two teams in the nation and a battle of offense versus defense. I had mentioned earlier that Alabama is an excellent defensive team, at stopping the run that is.

Clemson is a team that likes to throw the football, and Deshaun Watson can certainly take advantage of a secondary. That gives Clemson an advantage, coupled with Clemson’s more than capable defense and they look like a favorite in this one. Clemson should be your National Champions after this one.